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MSNBC on Otaku... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Friday, 12 September 2008 07:13
Anime Expo 2008

This article was posted yesterday.  Finally looked through it today.  Eh, whatever.  Expected.  Typical fare.  Let me just paste a couple of quotes (hyperlinks not present in original text)...

Otaku is a Japanese word that has evolved from meaning "techno-geek"

But sexually-suggestive and explicit anime like "Gurren Lagann" and "Legend of the Overfiend,"

Because some of the edgier elements such as “Lolicon” (or Lolicom, a combination of “Lolita” and “comic”)

“When you see a kid sitting in Borders reading a manga, he’s not just reading a comic book,” Macias said. “There is something really powerful going on there.”

Obviously, since I'm pointing these out, I mean to say that these are wrong.  The first three points, those are pretty straightforward in their wrongness, yeah.  But what about the last point?  I'd say this Patrick Macias guy's quote (Patrick himself strikes me as a pretty cool guy) isn't quite right either.

That kid in the Borders?  He is just reading a comic book.  Yeah, it's in Japanese, it probably reads from right to left... but it's still a comic book.  In fact, it's quite a bit less than the traditional American comic book: cheap paper, black and white, characters and scenarios that go on for mere months instead of the decades of the classic Marvel and DC superheroes...

And that is exactly why it is so powerful.  Manga is small and agile and fluid.  Manga is stuffed into pants pockets and bookbags as easily as it is thrown out or given away to friends and nephews.  It moves from print media to PVC figures to fashion to digital animation to school supplies to fanfiction to video games... even to full-blown pornography with ease.  Manga is powerful, yes, but its power lies in the fact that it is just manga, small and unintimidating... and its content is able to make huge leaps out of its initial form in a way that our feature films, prime-time dramas, even our next-generation video games are simply unable to do.  If I had to compare the world of manga to anything, I'd say it isn't unlike internet: it's a huge space that no one could possibly hope to fully experience, and it is always changing.  Yeah, there's a lot of the same cliches and scenarios and character designs, but things are constantly getting recombined and reappropriated and rereleased and rediscovered... and that's enough right?  Enough to be entertaining?  Enough to be addicting?  Oh yeah...

 
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Comments (1)
1 Friday, 12 September 2008 08:57
Ragnar
Well said, and mad props for not insisting that manga isn't comics.

In the interest of putting the "investigative" back in "investigative journalism," I also feel obliged to point out that Mr. Alexander hasn't done his homework. In particular, I REALLY like how they put "Gurren Lagann," which is mildly suggestive at worst, and "Legend of the Overfiend," which is an infamous tentacle-rape porno, in the same sentence. I can totally see the connection here! If I recall correctly, Gurren Lagann aired on Sunday mornings in Japan, which is hardly the time that a major TV network would air anything TOO racy.